The practical effect of his quixotic campaign to defund Obamacare has been to elevate the president and jeopardize the 2014 election for his own party. We’re inclined to a somewhat different view. We say tow cheers to Ted, and for Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marion Rubio and their fellow crusaders. They succeeded. Everyone is talking about obamacare and the more it gets talked about, the clearer its flaws are to an already skeptical public.
Tom Harkin likened the ACA to a “starter home” in need of renovations, an acknowledgment of the fundamental flaws of the president’s health care reform efforts.
Reid slipped and called the levy on medical devices “that stupid tax—I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that’. Mark Begich touted the benefits of OBC there’s some bad stuff in it but claimed the reforms would mean more competition in rural VA but acknowledged, “there could be lots of bumps on this”. He expressed concerns about “the disincentive to hire full-time workers’, the lack of tort reform in the law, the difficulty of informing consumers about their choices.
Republicans leaders preferred an approach that sought the restoration of some sequester cuts—in social spending to win Dems and defense spending to placate republicans—and would have included any effort to persuade President Obama to reform existing entitlements. OBC was not a priority.
Mike Lee told us in mid-July that GOP leader had offered “nothing” in response to his entreaties and didn’t have a strategy of their own. There’s no doubt Cruz made mistakes. On tactics he and his allies chose the wrong objective (defunding, rather than delaying key parts) and perhaps the wrong vehicle) the continuing resolution rather that the debt ceiling). Cruz alienated many would be allies with phony purity tests—claiming that conservatives who disagreed with his tactics were part of a “surrender caucus” and even likening them to appeasers of the Nazis.
Cruz and his allies have succeeded in one crucial respect: the debate is now focused on OBC and at precisely the moment when many Americans are beginning to understand just how flawed the law is. The focus should now be on the two provisions of OBC that are most difficult for the white House and congressional dems to defend—the OBC exemption for members of congress and their staffs and the selective enforcement of the law’s mandates. The stakes are potentially much higher in a battle over the creditworthiness of the US than they are in a squabble over a short-term funding measure.
As he and his advisers have warned repeatedly of the potentially catastrophic consequences of a failure to raise the debt ceiling, the president has steadfastly refused to negotiate at all to prevent that from happening.
Bloomberg found that Americans by 2 to 1 “disagree with Obama’s contention that congress should raise the US debt limit without conditions”. To focus on OBC—in particular the individual mandate and a provision in the law that allows those most responsible for it—member of congress, white house staff, supreme court justices and other—to avoid eating their own cooking.
After obama suspended the implementation of the employer mandate, 35 dems joined their republican colleagues to suspend the employer mandate. And when republicans argued that it would fundamentally unfair to enforce the individual mandate and not the employer mandate, 22 dems in the house joined them in voting for a measure that would suspend the individual mandate too.
The adm. Announced that members of congress and other federal employees would receive taxpayer financed subsidies for their health care, despite the fact that the hastily written law made no such provision; it was in a sense a carve-out for congress.
Pushing on these tow issue in the context of the debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling, allows republicans to press dems on OBC on favorable terrain.
The president who once argued that raising the debt ceiling was a “failure of leadership” will have to defend such a failure. The president said a default would be catastrophic and would have to explain why he’s not willing to tinker with a deeply unpopular law to avoid that eventuality. BUT He is eager to negotiate on nuclear issues with an Iranian regime.
The president who won reelection railing against preferential treatment for businesses will have to explain why he’s suspending the employer mandate and enforcing the individual mandate. And the president who complains incessantly about congress and Washington will have to explain why he’s chosen to protect them form the consequences of a laws that will affect everyone else.